Lightweight and intricate, French macarons are yet a classy sweet you can make for every occasion. However, if you have done some miscalculations in the step, there is a chance that your macarons can result in hollow, flat, cracked, or burnt. If ever you have come across failed macarons. Here is the basic thing you can do.
Failed macarons can be made into ice cream toppings with a caramel or chocolate ripple. Others just eat them for inspiration and try to make them again. While some crush them up and create a filling for your new, successful batch of macarons.
If ever you encounter macaron baking problems, here is a macaron troubleshooting guide to help you bake perfect macarons that are round, smooth, and have nice feet.
But first of all, you must know the difference between a macaron and a macaroon since many people are confused between these two terms.
Difference Between A Macaron And A Macaroon
To start with, I just want to assure you we are talking about the same thing.
A macaron is a French meringue-based cookie sandwich while a macaroon is a coconut-based drop cookie, which is often made with sweetened condensed milk.
Why Are My Macarons Hollow?
Hollow shells are often the result of under whipping or overwhipping the egg whites.
To prevent getting hollow shells in macarons, make sure the egg whites have reached the stiff peaks. To test for this, pull the beaters out of the bowl. If the peaks on the beaters and in the bowl remain upright, you are okay to go.
What To Do With Cracked Macaron Shells?
Cracked macaron shells happen all the time, even if you follow a good macaron recipe. Upon opening the oven, there are a few cracked macarons or even the whole tray of cracked macarons are baked.
You might be wondering, how did this happen? Well, it is not yet the end of the world.
Here are some of the reasons for cracked macarons:
- The batter is too runny, thus making the shell weak.
- The egg whites are not initially beaten enough
- There’s too much pressure on the final mixing of the batter
- There is too much humidity in the oven
Lingering oil on the oven base creates humidity, which can result in the cracking of the macaron’s shell. If you think there’s nothing you can do with cracked macaroons, here is a recipe you can do:
Cracked Macaron Black Forest Creams
Cracked chocolate macarons? You can turn them into these easy Black Forest creams with Kirsch-soaked macaron shells that are topped with roasted cherries and cream. This is a gluten-free dessert for a cherry season or any time of the year.
- 125 grams macaron shells
- 50 ml of water
- 50 grams of sugar
- 60 ml of Kirsch liqueur
- 36 cherries
- 300 grams of whipping cream
- 1 tbsp of icing
- 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 25 grams of dark chocolate, grated
- Make the Kirsch syrup. In a saucepan gently heat the water, sugar, and 40 mL, Kirsch, together and stir until it forms a thicker syrup. Set this aside to cool. Chill the bowl for preparing the cream.
- Using the shallow dish filled with the macaron shells, pour it over the syrup. Turn over now and again until the macarons are fully steeped in the juices then leave it for at least an hour to soak.
- Roast the cherries in 190C fan (410F). Place the cherries in the roasting tin and sprinkle with sugar and splash with the rest of the Kirsch. Roast until the juices
- Make the Chantilly Kirsch cream. Using an electric whisk, beat the chilled whipping cream in the chilled bowl with 1 tbsp of icing until the soft peaks form. Add 1 tbsp Kirsch or the roasted cherry juice and beat again until the peaks hold.
- Place the soaked macarons at the bottom of serving dishes, sprinkle with chocolate powder, top with 6 cherries, and top with Kirsch Chantilly cream. Either you sprinkle more cocoa powder or grated dark chocolate for toppings.
When Macarons Have No Feet
Macaron feet are the telltale signs if your macarons are perfect or fail. These little ruffles around the edge of the shell are small and unbroken. The big and bubbly feet are signs that the insides have been pushed out, resulting in a hollow macaron.
If your macarons don’t have feet, this is because the batter is too wet. Make sure you are using egg whites and do not add liquid flavoring or coloring.
The most probable reason for underdeveloped feet is due to the macarons did not develop skin before baking completely.
Aside from giving the shells happy feet, the skin can help prevent spreading and give the shells the coveted shiny done finish.
To help your macarons develop the skin, leave them a room temperature after piping for 20 to 30 minutes.
Touch the tops of your shells carefully. If you feel that the skin has already developed, they are ready to be baked.
Macarons may come out flat due to overmixing of the batter or there’s a poorly prepared wet batter.
To fix flat macarons, here are things you need to do:
- Over-mixed batter: There is no way to salvage the over-mixed batter. Once it is deflated, all the air in the meringue will come out, the shells will not develop properly once placed in the oven. Then start again. If you do not want to bake them anyway, make sure not to use Silpat mat as they will not stick to the mat and you will end up with concave shells, which cannot be filled.
- Wet batter: Ensure that the egg whites are aged, and you have reached stiff peaks before folding. Do not overfold them.
Chewy macarons can stick to the pan may be caused by underbaking, a “wet” batter, or the improper use of macaronage techniques.
The macaron is wet and chewy to the pan because:
- Underbaked macarons can be fixed by increasing the temperature or baking time.
- The macaron shell is too wet due to the humidity or the ingredients themselves because there is too much moisture. To fix this, turn on the range-hood fan while letting the macarons dry, turn on the dehumidifier, use aged egg whites and avoid using liquid coloring to ensure the meringue reaches the stiff peaks before folding.
- The use of improper macaronage technique. To fix this, deflate some of the air in the batter by using the proper folding techniques. It should flow like molten lava.
Wrinkled macaron shells are caused by oven temperatures that are too low, over-mixed batter, incorrect ingredient ratios, or the use of oily/wet/old ingredients. See how you can fix the wrinkly macarons below.
Macarons are wrinkly and blotchy because:
- If the temperature is too low, try increasing the temperature by 25 to 50 degrees.
- For overbeaten meringue, stop beating once the egg whites have clumped in the whisk and reached stiff peaks.
- For the overmixed batter, try to fold until it becomes smooth and fluffy. Add some color in the meringue stage and do not fold to make an easy overmix batter.
- For issues about incorrect ratios of ingredients, remedy this concern if you add other ingredients to the shell such as cocoa powder or matcha powder. Ensure that you are adding an amount that will not compromise the integrity of the makeup.
- For oily ingredients, fix this issue by adding other ingredients that can compromise the integrity of the shells. Always grind the almond with icing sugar. Check that the gel color will not become runny. Always use the gel color instead of liquid, where certain brands are more concentrated than others.
Check the expiry date and the composition of dry ingredients added to the shells. The use of almond flour can be baked in the oven before use to dry it out.
Better yet, create your almond flour to get consistent and stable results.
Macaron Shells With Little Holes On Top
Porous macarons with holes on the top are due to the meringue that is too soft or a wet batter.
Macarons are porous with holes because of the following reasons:
- The meringue that is too soft or broken can be fixed by beating the meringue until stiff peaks. Stop immediately once the stiff peaks have been reached.
- For batter that is too wet, fix it by adding other ingredients but avoid those with too much moisture like extracts, water-based food color, and other gel colors. Do not use extracts in the batter if you do not have a reliable recipe for this.
Take note that porous macarons are not caused by oven temperatures.
Meringue Is Not Stiffening Up
The meringue may take a long time to reach stiff peaks because of cold egg whites, foreign substances in the meringue. Improper whipping can cause overwhipping that can affect the meringue.
If the meringue does not stiff:
- Egg whites are too cold. Cold egg whites are harder to whip and can take longer to increase the volume. Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature naturally by placing the egg whites in the cup surrounded by warm water.
- With the presence of foreign substances in the meringue, you can fix it by making sure that the bowls and whips are completely clean, dry, and free of oils. To get rid of oil, you may use lemon juice or vinegar to wipe down equipment before whipping. Use stainless steel or glass bowl instead of plastic. You must be careful when adding extracts into the meringue since using too much of it can deflate it.
- Improper whipping speed can be remedied by avoiding whipping on high in the beginning. Start whipping on low speed and gradually increase to medium speed and then to medium-high. While it can be done by hand, you may use a mixer or Kitchenaid.
Using Store-Bought Liquid Egg Whites Or Meringue Powder
Egg whites in cartons are usually made from pasteurized food that is not ideal for meringue. The heat from the pasteurization process negatively affects the proteins, which are essential in making meringue.
Meanwhile, the use of meringue powder is not strong enough to hold a stiff meringue batter. To get the best macarons, you may separate the eggs yourself.
Using All-Purpose Flour Instead Of Almond Flour
Do not use all-purpose flour instead of almond. All-purpose flours and bread flours are different from nut flours. If you use all-purpose flour, chances that your batter will turn out very soft and fluffy.
On the other hand, almond flour is made entirely of almonds and has a much higher fat content than wheat flour.
While you cannot substitute bread flours here, you can try other nut-based flours if you want.
Proper Way To Fold The Batter
Folding is also known as macaronage, which is probably the most crucial stage in making macarons. To fold properly, place your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients in batches. This helps you regulate the folding process.
Keep in mind that you need to do between 40 and 60 folds to get the proper consistency.
If you want to test the proper consistency, lift a small amount of batter with your spatula, then drop it back into the bowl. If the edges soften and it absorbs back into the batter within 10 seconds, you are ready to pipe.
How Long To Wait Before Putting Macarons In The Oven
Usually, you have to wait around 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature before putting macarons into the oven. Wait for a skin to form on the shell. To test whether your cookies are ready to bake, touch the tops of the cookies carefully.
On the other hand, if your finger is dry and you feel a skin has already developed, this is a sign that your cookies are ready to bake.
Why Do Macarons From The Same Batch Yield Different Results?
Macarons that yield different results within the same batch can be due to lack of oven circulation, poor macaronage techniques, inadequate and different resting times, or unbeaten egg whites.
This issue is caused by different factors:
- Poor circulation in the oven can be remedied with the use of a convection setting. Bake one tray at a time only.
- Improper macaronage technique is fixed by ensuring that the batter is fully incorporated and you use the right folding technique to deflate some air in the meringue.
- Inadequate resting time is countered by ensuring that the shells have developed a “skin” and look dull and matte before placing in the oven. Don’t forget that the batter from the same batch yields inconsistent results when piped onto different trays and baked at different times. This might be due to changes in the temperature of the oven or little or too much resting time.
- Unbeaten egg whites can be fixed by ensuring that the meringue reaches stiff peaks in the French method.
Adding Color Or Flavor To Macaron Batter
The liquid food color can affect the consistency of this macaron batter, use a gel or powdered color additive.
The flavor may be a little trickier. Most flavor add-ins are liquid that will likely thin out your batter. For optimum results, keep the flavor in the filling is the best part anyway.
Do You Recommend Parchment Paper Or A Silicone Baking Mat?
Whichever you use, either way, will work.
Cookies that are baked on silicone need to be in the oven for a little longer than those who baked on parchment paper.
The see-through nature of parchment paper can make it the best option for following a template when piping the macarons.
Place the print-out template under the parchment paper and pipe perfect macarons every time.
Runny Macaron Batter
Runny macaron batters that fall off from the spatula quickly like pancake batter are due to the poorly prepared meringue, introduction of foreign ingredients into the batter, or caused by overfolding during the macaronage stage.
The ideal macaron batter should be slow-flowing like honey and is thick.
Here are some of the reasons why your macaron batter is runny:
- Poorly prepared meringue can be fixed by beating the meringue to the stiff peak stage before folding.
- The introduction of foreign ingredients into the batter can be managed by adding extracts into the meringue, as this can easily deflate it. It is better to put some flavors on the macaron with the filling instead. Make sure when adding other foreign ingredients into the batter, as it can cause the batter to become wetter.
- Overfolding during the macaronage can be settled by checking the batter’s consistency while folding. Stop folding immediately once the batter flows like honey and can be drawn when the batter is picked up and dropped.
Things To Keep In Mind To Achieve Perfect Macarons
- Use a digital scale when measuring ingredients
- Sift almond flour and other powdery ingredients to remove lumps
- Make sure that all the utensils are free of oil and dust
- Macarons taste better a day or two later. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge to allow the flavors to mix and mingle.
- Allow your shells to cool slightly before removing them from the pan to protect the bottoms
- Use an oven thermometer to make sure that the heat is in the proper setting.
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